Standing in the waves,
looking out to the west,
a mysterious island appears on the horizon…
and we swam
O’ how we swam
over the sea to the isle of Clear-Glass.
and we climbed
O’ how we climbed
up the sheer cliffs to the Shining Peak.
and we rolled
O’ how we rolled
down the steep slopes to the Sandy Beach.
and we ran
O’ how we ran
across the flat sands to the Leaping Sea.
Standing in the waves,
looking out to the west,
a mysterious island appears on the horizon…
‘For God created man immortal, and made him in the image of his own eternity.’
– The ‘Twentieth’ Leaf
The preceding image we had to own did not seem to us particularly god-like.
We turned the leaf:
The Twenty-First Leaf
…Although that description most definitely did.
Finally we came to the last leaf of the little gold-plated book.
It did not come before time.
Already a golden dawn was beginning to blaze through the blinds of our study window.
The Twenty-Second Leaf looked like this:
We walked to our bedroom in a daze, collapsed on the bed, and fell into a fitful sleep.
We dreamed of two rooms the exact reverse of each other.
One was in shadow.
The other was lit.
We awoke around Noon.
We walked into the living room to find the window open and the little golden book gone.
We fell to our knees and sobbed.
On the study desk were our rough copies of the material we had found in the book.
How had she done it?
Where had she been?
And why didn’t she use the door?
The door may be watched, came the answer.
We remembered our dream and walked back into the bedroom.
We opened one of the mirrored doors to our wardrobe.
There on the floor lay a leaf from the little golden book.
Was it ‘the missing leaf’?
If it was, it was not what we were expecting.
The Twenty-Third Leaf:
On the back was a seal:
‘…then a triangle and finally a circle……’
– The ‘Eighteenth’ Leaf.
…This to our mind pretty much makes the earth feminine and the moon masculine which we expect also makes the sun feminine and the star behind the sun masculine. And that is pretty much how the Egyptian’s had it.
We surmise that at this point there maybe at least one missing leaf to the book delineating in much more detail the geometries of earth and moon.
…But what of the sun?
We turned the ‘Eighteenth’ Leaf…
‘…Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abides alone…’
The ‘Nineteenth’ Leaf
Which we must assume is referring to the sun.
We turned the ‘Nineteenth’ Leaf aware somewhere in the recesses of our overstretched brain that the moon and sun cycles are conjoint in their nineteenth year.
The ‘Twentieth’ Leaf
‘…But if it dies it brings forth much fruit.’
…Which leaf, incidentally, concludes the geometric designs contained in the book.
The ‘Twenty-First’ Leaf introduced a picture of sorts which to us again appeared to echo some of the Egyptian ideas:
…The ‘Sixteenth’ and ‘Seventeenth’ Leaves.
‘…From a man and a woman make a circle…’
‘…And then a square…’
We thought again of The Officers Of Law who appeared to see the girl as a man?
‘The Spirit as Inner Fire is ‘Agni’ for the Vedic and ‘Hermes’ for the Greek.
The vessel defines the content which is a perception.
Make the vessel transparent in order to ‘see’ clearly.’
Clearly, this sequence of directions related to a famous alchemical engraving. We dashed to our library…
‘The Flight of Atalanta’ by Michael Maier…
‘The squaring of the circle represents a marriage of opposites. It can be accomplished in two ways, by area or perimeter. The circle is a symbol of the eternal element in creation, whilst the square represents solid matter and human works… The largest squared circle in the natural world is the earth and moon. Earth’s mean radius is 3960 miles and the Moon’s is 1080 miles which makes 5040 miles. With a radius of 5040 the circumference of any sublunary circle is 316180 miles, which is the same as the perimeter of any square containing the earth.’
Blimey, they’re all ‘nines’ save the last which is a ‘one’.
We smile, and then consider that it seems to us somewhat incredible that the planetary bodies should possess such accurate geometric proportions by accident.
‘This combination of heaven and earth, or spirit and matter, is a founding pattern in sacred temples from time immemorial the world over.’
The ‘Fifteenth’ Leaf.
‘I am the rose of Sharon as the Lily among thorns
so is my love among the daughters.’
– Song of Songs 2:1
In our mind’s eye we saw her:
She was deep in the earth…
…But far deeper than the deepest imaginable depth.
She moved in a Sanctum of Silence hewn from Living, Breathing Stone.
And she was three:
One was Movement and transcribed the geometric figures in air…
One was Heart and recited the formula with utmost precision of tone…
One was Mind and meditated on all that occurred.
A Fourth there was which oversaw each station and which also took her form.
And what a form it was:
A form transfigured by each Atu…
We were again minded of our studies:
THE GREAT ESCAPE
A man is tasked with liberating prisoners.
He finds them deluded.
Their history is prison history, their lives are prison lives.
They think and act accordingly.
Instead of hoarding bread they mould it into dominoes and play games with it.
The rats in prison are treated as pets instead of being trained to communicate with the outside world.
Alcohol is drunk in order to produce hallucinations rather than drug the guards…
The prisoners confuse common words…
‘Provisions’ to them means prison-food…
‘Journey’ means walking to and from cell blocks…
‘Escape’ means avoiding punishment…
When their would-be liberator says, ‘we need provisions for our escape to the outside world,’ he sounds like a madman.
To the inmates their prison is the world.
The liberator dies without accomplishing his task.
Those who tried to understand his words turn them into a prison cult and find questions for the next liberator who comes to set them free…
Nonetheless, occasionally there are some prisoners who escape.
– A Sufi Parable
Is that what she was?
Was she an ‘Escapee’?
The Rose of Sharon…
What did it mean?
We turned the ‘Eleventh’ leaf of the book:
’… to him that overcomes will I give a white stone, and
in the stone a new name written…’
– Revelation 2:17
…The ‘Twelfth’ Leaf.
Albedo: A White World.
Was it a coincidence?
Twelve Tribes of Israel… Twelve Jewels on the High Priest’s Ephod…
Twelve Disciples of the Christ…
…Twelve Gates into the New Jerusalem.
Twelve Months of the Old Year.
It certainly suggested that thus far the leaves were in fact in the correct order.
All it really suggested was that the Twelfth leaf was in the correct place.
But why this headlong career though the leaves of the book?
And why did we feel the need to so hastily transcribe its contents?
Something told us it was not ours to keep.
The ‘Thirteenth’ Leaf:
‘…One becomes Two, Two becomes Three…’
In terms of number symbolism alone that really was very clever…
We decided to be audacious;
‘Why are you wanted by The Officers Of Law?’
We did no more than frame the question in our mind.
Silence…Nothing… and then:
‘Because the Dead Letter always seeks to contain the Spirit,
Whilst the Living Word seeks only to set it free.’
The ‘Fourteenth’ Leaf:
‘…And out of the Third comes One as the Fourth…’
…As Indeed was that.
And that is without even considering the geometric forms.
The one here certainly resembles a seed…
…A Diamond seed sown at the heart of conjunction.
Our brain was now again beginning to fire yet simultaneously to tire.
It was all we could do to get the thing down as accurately as we could.
We were onto the Third Operation already…
And finally we saw her…
‘…We shall all be changed for this mortal,
must put on immortality.’
– The ‘Eleventh’ Leaf.
…Our respect for the stranger at our door grew.
This little device appeared to effectively marry the elements and directions in a four-fold equilibrium…
And as any aspiring psychoanalyst or psychologist knows the four-fold equilibrium of the psyche represents optimum health for the individual…
…Butterflies as souls.
We thought again of the girl whose book we now perused but who had appeared much too young to know this…
And then her voice rang out clear in our mind.
‘There is a sense in which one is one self:
There is a sense in which one is also every one else.
Such thinking is alien to the personality:
It could have been an auditory hallucination.
We had been studying now long into the early hours.
It certainly made very little sense in conventional terms.
As if to compound our possible insanity we answered her back:
‘We will follow your instruction if you can answer a question.’
Nothing… Silence…and then…
‘Why the Blind Seer?’ we said, thinking ourselves very clever.
‘Not difficult,’ was the response, ‘If one already knows what is to happen one hardly need see it transpire.’
It was a good answer.
It was an exceptionally good answer…
We are reminded of an ‘old’ Poem:
THE CONVERSION OF ADAM
We call you Red-Rock
We breathe and you move
Amazed and wondrous
Made ponderous and slow by millennia…
How can you
When naming beasts of air
River and sea
Field and tree
Loathe the toil of earth?
And inevitably of the First Matter which comprises three Spirituous Essences…
And suddenly the ‘penny drops’…
There are only three elements because we comprise the fourth,
Or the first: Salt is not of Earth it is of Water,
Fire is Sulphur and Mercury is Air.
…And then the ‘cogs’ begin to turn.
Just like the leaves of an ancient tome…
Leaves ‘Seven’ and ‘Eight’:
‘…What is sown ingloriously is raised in glory…’
‘…What is sown in corruption is raised incorrupt…’
But no, as it turned out, many were the tongues and many the hands employed in the endeavour though the Mind alone appeared to be one…
The illustrated operations were clearly linked to that first image and to the directions and descriptions of the ‘second’ leaf.
For ‘glory’ read gold, the incorruptible metal…
The symbols were those familiar to any magician as the elements, Water, Air, Fire and Earth.
What deeper meanings did they contain?
What lay behind the reflected image?
We turned the ‘Eighth’ Leaf…
…And found the earlier reflection split.
Leaves ‘Nine’ and ‘Ten’
‘…The first Adam was made a living soul, the last shall be a quickening spirit…’
‘…What is sown a natural body will be raised a spiritual body…’
Is the First and Last Adam even a concept in, ‘The Book’?
Nature and spirit, sowing and being raised…
Souls alive and Spirits quickened?
…The rest of the Night and into the Dawn is something of a blur for us.
One can only take in so much after all.
We continued to turn the leaves of the little book…
‘…O Daughters of Jerusalem,
I am black as the tents of Kedar yet
comely as the curtains of Solomon.’
Song of Songs 1:5
We took in the contents or at least we hoped we did…
The Sun and its Shadow…?
Or, more accurately, the precise relationship between the two.
We did our best to transcribe their contents as faithfully as possible, albeit somewhat crudely considering the exquisite craftmanship of the originals…
Even so it is extremely likely there are mistakes.
Should ‘tents’ and ‘curtains’ have borne capital initial letters?
Each image and phrase played out in a rapture of increasing intensity.
Could the compilers of, ‘The Book’ be complicit in The Work?